Hal Pictures Green Lantern Butt's FOREVER!: I'm An Old Fogey

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Monday, January 16, 2012

I'm An Old Fogey

Let us take a travel in time, back to the Good Old Days, of my misbegotten youth. I speak of the early 1970's...a time lost in the mist for so many of you young whippersnappers. In these bygone days, a great many of us were encouraged to take "Typing" so that we could grow up to become secretaries, and clerks and other worthwhile sorts of jobs. Being able to type accurately and quickly were the hallmarks of a good student and a good employee.

We were taught, to always leave two spaces between the period, and the beginning of another sentence. To this day, I continue to do this. It is just something that was hammered into our little heads, and I do it without thinking. Besides...it looks nice.


...apparently this is no longer the rule. Various bloggers and other people of import have declared this habit to be passe', and old-fashioned and unnecessary. Only dinosaurs use two spaces.

To which I say...phooey. Actually, I would say even stronger things, but I'm trying to be lady-like here and not use bad words, like goddamned, shit and piss-off. Why, I ask, is there such a furor over those two little spaces? Is it one of those things like typing out l0l, or wtf, or other text-speak stuff? Do your little thumbs not have enough stamina to type out that extra space? I don't know, and I don't understand.

I have recently learned to text. I am "with it". Whatever "it" may be. I also use capitals, proper punctuation, and I NEVER use text-speech. I write it all out. My texts tend therefore, to be on the long side...but at least they are easy to figure out. I'm not usually in all that much of a hurry anyway. I still can't figure out twitter, but at least I can follow a tumbler account, and I do manage to get myself on and off of my old computer every day, so that is something. I don't have any aps on my phone, nor have I seen the need for them. I don't look at my phone for the time, I have a wristwatch for that. I don't take pictures with my phone, I have a camera for that. I use my phone to TALK on. And I have to admit, texting is highly addictive...and occasionally handy.

BUT...I am damned if I am going to give up my two spaces. You will have to pry my cold palsied fingers off of my keyboard. I LIKE my two spaces, along with finger bowls and fish forks.


I'm sure that the JSA would agree.


At 12:07 PM, Blogger James Ashelford said...

I don't know if it's time or the Atlantic but at school I was always taught the exact opposite, that two spaces was an affectation rather than any grammatical rule.

Still though, by God, I'll defend your right to use it.

Also, being English almost all grammatical debate is confined to the grocer's/grocers/grocers' apostrophe.

At 1:13 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

Really James? I had no idea. All I know is that it was relentlessly drummed into our innocent 12 year old brains, that YOU USE TWO SPACES! Or else the Grammar Gargoyles would get you, presumably.

As you may have noticed, I DO have an odd attachment to my errant apostrophe.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Gary said...

I, too, was taught to use two spaces after a full stop. However, I have to admit to falling into line with current practice and have recently moved over to a single one.

I will be darned if I'm going to let the apostrophe fall by the wayside, however. Contractions and possessives with a handful of counter-intuitive pronouns. How difficult is it, people!?

Sorry, need to calm down now.

At 2:03 PM, Blogger Patrick C said...

I'm with you, 2 spaces after a period! I don't even think about it, once I type the period my thumb automatically hits that space bar twice.

At 4:06 PM, Blogger CalvinPitt said...

I was taught two spaces as well, but I fell out of the habit a few years ago. I think whatever word processing software I was using kept autocorrecting it to one space, and I figured as long as I wasn't taking flack from my professors, that was OK.

I type out mostly full words when I text as well, but I'm terribly slow. People have texted me, then sent another text telling me they need me to text them back, while I'm in the process of typing up a response. As a result, I try not to text very much.

At 5:28 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

YRU so slo?

See, that sort of thing drives me absolutely nuts, because it takes me five minutes to figure out what they just said.

At 4:17 AM, Blogger MetFanMac said...

The thging is, the two-spaces-after-the-period thing came about because of the technical limitations of typewriters, which did not put a large enough (single) space after the period. With modern keyboards and modems, of course, this limitation has vanished along with the need to circumvent it. (Yes, I'm a one-space typer.)

At 4:30 AM, Blogger Shiraste said...

Well, being a bit younger I suppose I was taught to use only 1 space after a period - though having been taught British English I tend to refer to it as full stop anyway.
It might be different for me anyway as I am not a native English speaker.

I do not mind two spaces at all. It doesn't distract, or do anything weird, as far as I am concerned.

However I am guilty of the odd internet slang or acronym. But I tend to use them rarely and only on internet chat or sometimes texting when speed is an issue... or when I feel particularly lazy. Also I tend to keep it to the well known ones like lol, imo, afaik, tbh, et al.

Speaking of internet chat programs, I sort of grew up with them and have been exposed to a lot of varieties - some may call them abominations - like Singlish, 1337 sp34k and lately lolcats. So I tend to be a fairly up to date on "internet cryptography" and don't mind it a lot.
Abbreviating you to U or your/you're to Ur tends to annoy me, too, for some reason however.

Surprisingly I tend to cringe a lot more with the apostrophe issues and phonology issues than with contractions. Maybe because it was hammered into us at school. It is "you're" not "your". It is "they're" not "their" or "there". "Do you want to look like a fool?" - famous quote by my English teacher.

As bottom line, with English having become the number one language on the internet and being spoken, or at least typed, globally it seems a bit narrow minded to insist someone do it a certain way. Language evolves, spelling and grammar changes - ask William Shakespeare. As long as people get what you are saying, or typing, it is good enough for me.

Wow, this became longer than expected.

At 8:53 AM, Blogger Dwayne "the canoe guy" said...

ROTFLMAO!! Srsly? My bad JK.But it youre right 2 B ngry bout it.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Lantern Kiaori said...

I really like the way you write! I'm Argentinian, and English isn't my first language, so the way you express yourself makes things really easy for me to understand.

Proper grammar is something that should be encourage, alongside with reading. Keep it going!

At 11:38 AM, Blogger James Ashelford said...

Oh yes, the "their/they're" and "you're/your" thing drives me batty, it really does.

One of my English teachers used to drum that one into kids using, of things, a scene from Friends with Ross going ballistic over it.

At 12:40 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

Oh Dwayne!

The whole their/they're/there thing, not to mention your/you're and so on ALSO drives me insane when it is used improperly.

Dammit, I just love apostrophes.

Kiaori, I'm so flattered. I have a tendency to use slang andjargon, so it can be a bit hard to follow if English isn't your first language. Or in some cases...even if it is.

They had better not go after ellipses. I LOVE ellipses!

At 2:25 PM, Blogger Dwayne "the canoe guy" said...

Don't you mean

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Lantern Kiaori said...

Haha, It's ok, I understand slangs (I mean, I read how Guy speaks XD he's a tough one, but I refuse reading the translated comics!)

At 4:51 PM, Anonymous lordofthewaters said...

I too was taught the double space after period rule. It wasn't all THAT long ago either being 1989. I refuse to type any other way. I text more than I should but also refuse to type any of those "text speak" contractions or acronyms. I may be slow, but I'm typing English.

At 4:53 PM, Anonymous lordofthewaters said...

So, I notice that the software here automaticallyedits my post to remove the second space after the period...

At 11:11 AM, Blogger googum said...

Hmm. I usally do space twice, although I have noticed I've been letting it slide if the post spaces out funny. As opposed to me spacing out funny, which may be a neurological problem...

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Saranga said...

1 space isn't a British thing. we use 2 spaces over here. The boyfriend agrees, a friend disagrees. I think James is a bit younger than me, so maybe it changed a few years after I got taught it?

Anyway. it's 2 spaces dammit! I know I often lose capitals (i just like lower case, ever since I read about e.e.cummings not using caps I realised I really liked lower case when typing).

I do sometimes write '2' and 'ur' etc in texts, but that's only when I otherwise run out of space.

My grammar isn't great, I know that, but when I spot other people doing it wrong, my blood boils. I'm such a hypocrite.

(see? 2 spaces. all the way through. doing it right)

At 6:03 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

Saranga, being able to self-edit is SO difficult. It is always so much easier to spot spelling or grammatical errors in someone ELSE!

At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Ross K. Wolfe said...

MetFanMac already gave the explanation I was about to write. But just in case someone missed it like I almost did: Typewriters = 2 spaces after period; computer keyboards = 1 space.


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